The Difference between a Job Description and a Job Advert: 8 Things You Need to Know

Written by Sophie Down | July 7, 2015 | 0 Comments
UntitledWhilst evaluating your recruitment advertising strategy, it’s important to consider the content of the adverts that are being seen by your potential applicants.
Your job adverts are a reflection of your company and should therefore be perfectly crafted. Many hiring managers may think that sending the job description out as an advert is fine – however, this isn’t the case.
Failing to distinguish between the two can be dangerous because the aim of each is different; a job advert should entice candidates and a job description should inform candidates. (Download our 2016 Guide to Online Recruitment Advertising, to learn more about crafting an effective job campaign.)
In the fast-paced world of online recruitment, you may feel as though you lack the time to sit down and write a new advert for each job opening. However, if you’re starting to notice lower application numbers than usual, it’s worth going back to basics and reviewing the quality of your recruitment advertising.
To help you in your mission to attract the right applicants to your vacancy, we explore the main differences between a job description and a job advertisement:

1. Look at the length of your copy

You should avoid putting your job description on a job board; not only will candidates be put off by an overly long advert but most boards have a maximum text limit so standard job descriptions are usually unable to fit in their existing format.
Job adverts should be short and punchy, briefly summarising the duties that the successful candidate will be doing and providing a general overview of the role.

2. Job descriptions tell, where adverts sell

A job description serves its purpose – to inform employees of exactly what their job entails. It’s there to inform. However, do you think that the small details of the role (for instance, ‘attend regular meetings’ or ‘produce a report every two weeks’) are going to make your vacancy more appealing to prospective candidates?
Whereas, with a job advert, it’s important to sell the aspects of the role that are going to entice applicants. Just think, will candidates have the chance to work on lots of exciting projects? Will they be able to work with a high level of autonomy? If so, say!

3. Who are you addressing?

Many job descriptions are written in third person. For example, ‘the employee will resolve any customer queries’ and ‘they will respond to emails’.
In adverts, it’s important to engage candidates and pull them into the advert. Addressing them directly as ‘you’ will make it feel as though you’re talking directly to them.

4. Consider your company information

Do you have an excellent range of benefits? Do you have an amazing culture that will make the role instantly more desirable? If so, the advert is the place to shout about it.
The chances are, a job description won’t say anything about your company as the person reading it will likely already be an employee or will be in talks with someone regarding the vacancy.
However, in a job advert, company information can be a massive selling point. Try to keep your company description as brief as possible – simplify it to a sentence or two that makes it clear what you do. Instead, focus on the benefits that your company offers.

5. Steer clear of internal jargon

Job descriptions are usually loaded with internal buzzwords and jargon which might make sense to anyone currently working in your company but to anyone else, they’ll read like a foreign language. Therefore, it’s important to leave them out of your advert.
Within your job adverts, try to simplify your language, as candidates are likely to switch off the second they read terms that make no sense or that don’t really mean anything.

6. Know your audience’s medium

Job descriptions and job adverts are usually viewed in different mediums. Job descriptions are often viewed as a document on a computer or are printed out and read in person.
However, online job adverts work completely differently – jobseekers have to find your vacancy online by searching and, therefore, keyword repetition is important.

7. Choose your job title carefully

Whilst your vacancy in-house might be called something niche, for advertising purposes it’s important to choose something a bit more searchable and generic so that jobseekers are able to find it easier.
For instance, if within your company the role is called ‘Kitchen Sales Guru’, it might be worth advertising it as ‘Sales Executive’ or ‘Sales Rep’ – these titles are much more searchable.

8. Think about your essential criteria

Job descriptions usually contain long lists of essential points about the role, including lots of soft skills, such as great communication abilities, attention to detail etc. Many of these points, whilst important, are redundant in an actual job advert where candidates should be able to assess themselves on experience and knowledge.
Within job adverts, it’s important to keep the list of essential criteria as short as possible, rather than a huge shopping list that only a fictional perfect candidate will have.
Unsure of how to write an effective recruitment advert? Webrecruit Ireland has a dedicated team of copywriters who will ensure that your vacancy gets the best possible response. Find out more.

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